The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Longboard Cafe

On our most recent trip to Ocean City over the Thanksgiving weekend, we were floored to see the place was mobbed. Coastal Highway, which had been deserted two weeks before, was crawling with cars. Was it the holiday weekend? Was it the mild weather? Was it the Winterfest of Lights? We were there to winterize our condo (check it out if you’re looking for a place to stay in OC!) and see the light festival. We had been watching the progress of the one million lights being put up in Northside Park ever since the middle of October. I definitely didn’t want to miss out on the spectacular light show only a few hundred feet from our condo.

Of course since there were so many people in town for the weekend, finding a place to eat that wasn’t crazy crowded was a challenge. Since a large percentage of the restaurants close their doors in the off season, this proved an even bigger challenge. Driving past a couple of our choices on Coastal Highway at 7:30 on a Friday night (the light festival took longer than we anticipated), we saw everything was packed. Luckily, I remembered a restaurant café tucked in the back of a shopping center that we had discovered when we went to Sweet Frog, a yogurt shop that my daughter has been dying to go to for years (Here’s the scoop on that place—it’s nothing special). But the restaurant, Longboard Café was something special.

It was crowded as well, but we were led upstairs to a small loft area where there were four tables. It was cramped, but not so much that you couldn’t move around. The waiter immediately came over and apologized because they had ran out of several items since they were so busy, and he wanted to make sure we didn’t get our hearts set on those items while looking at the menu. I had been looking forward to the Chef’s Risotto, but there were so many other delicious sounding dinners to choose from. But first…our drinks. Hubs got some boring million year old scotch 🥃 and I got a white cranberry cosmo:

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very good. The drink menu was really tantalizing so I also had a PomTini 🍸 and a Chocolate Martini for dessert. I forgot to take pictures of those because I was feeling quite relaxed at the time and not even thinking about this blog. I assure you they were gorgeous.

Anyhoo..back to the food. Since we had a larger party this time (the kids AND the in-laws joined us for this trip), we got to sample a lot of the choices on the menu. My daughter had her heart set on the shrimp and scallop appetizer which we told her was going to be her meal, not an appetizer. She agreed to that rule and said it was delicious and worth it, but was still hungry afterward. (Hence why it’s called an appetizer—didn’t Cartman from South Park say an appetizer is what you eat before you eat to make you more hungry?) 😂😂😂

img_5227 My mother in-law had a tomato soup that was seriously chunky—this was no soup from a can. She also got an appetizer as a meal—the Crabby Flat bread—crab dip, cheddar-jack, sriracha, bacon, and Old Bay. 🦀 She ate both before I could even take a picture so I guess they were tasty.

My father in-law and son both went with the Seafood pasta, fettuccini, OC dayboat scallops, tail-on shrimp, lobster, lobster cream sauce and a baguette. It had to be good because my father in-law almost ate the whole thing (he gave my daughter some because she was shooting him puppy dog eyes across the table and he felt sorry for her). This is quite the feat for him because he usually orders half a sandwich for a meal and takes half of it home. 🙄

img_5225 Can you believe it? Neither the hub nor I got dayboat scallops. I was too torn between the salmon and the coffee-rubbed ribeye which is what the hubs got. He said it was melt in his mouth awesome and bursting with flavor. (Sorry, my picture taking skills are crap. I think I need a new phone for Christmas…hint, hint Hubby.)

img_5226 And finally, my salmon. Teriyaki sriracha lacquer, field greens, avocado, roasted corn, grape tomato and a balsamic drizzle. Hubs makes really great salmon at home. I’ve gotten salmon countless times at restaurants and I’m always disappointed because his is so much better. I even swore I wasn’t going to order salmon anymore so I don’t know what possessed me to get the salmon (I guess I’m a glutton for punishment?), but I’m glad I did. This salmon put the hubby’s salmon to shame. I was halfway through my second cocktail when I finished it so I even told him that to his face…ooops.

img_5228 I think I may have licked the plate. My only complaint was the chef went a little heavy on the balsamic. But I did soak it up with all the field greens so no harm, no foul. By the way, I want to note that our waiter was fabulous. Very personable, helped us make decisions when we were torn between dishes, and even gave recommendations to some of the other restaurants in the area that we might want to try (I guess you can’t always eat in one place).

Everyone agreed it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had (and definitely the best in OC) and they demanded I blog about the place immediately. Believe it or not, despite being full, we even got dessert. (I don’t think any of us wanted to leave!) The kids split a chocolate brownie and the adults went with drinkable desserts (sometimes the best kind). I told you about that Chocolate martini. I wish I had remembered to take a picture to share with you—I’ve been seeing it in my dreams and I wish you all could see it too. Oh well, you’ll have to check it out yourself the next time you’re in the neighborhood. Why not go visit for the Winterfest since the lights are up until New Year’s? And don’t miss the fireworks on New Year’s Eve!

Atmosphere: 9 forks out of 10 (I liked the casual, yet classy decorating)

Value: 9 out of 10 forks (a little on the pricey side but SO worth it)

View: 5 out of 10 forks (there really isn’t a view but I’m almost convinced that the chefs in restaurants without views consciously make up for it with their delectable dishes) There is also outside seating with a fireplace that I would have loved to try, but it was too chilly for that.

Food: 9.75 out of 10 forks (I would seriously need to want to leave my husband for the chef to give a restaurant a complete 10—I was close to asking the waiter to get his number for me)

***P.S. There’s a kids’ menu and also daily specials to check out.

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Ropewalk

We’ve passed by Ropewalk several times a day on our many travels to OC, but we’ve never stopped in until now. It’s pushed back far from the main drag and I wasn’t sure what kind of food they would serve. (Yeah, I know, checking out the menu online would have helped with that…)

We stopped in on a sunny and unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in October and were seated right on the water (the bayside). I’m telling you, the bayside doesn’t get enough credit…some of these views are phenomenal.

 

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Okay, so maybe this view complete with ketchup and mustard bottles doesn’t do it justice, but believe me when I say this was relaxing scenery. I wanted to stay here all day.

The menu was extensive—much of the “Expected” fare like steam pots and handhelds, along with some twists on the usual including lobster pot pie, smoked shark bites and fried green tomatoes. There is also an Oyster Shooters menu if you like that sort of thing (I do not).

Since it was off season and the restaurant was practically empty, we were served VERY quickly…a little too quickly for my tastes since we were soaking in the serene view. Our appetizer and drinks came out within ten minutes:

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This was the Ropewalk’s version of bang bang shrimp, called Bada Bing Shrimp (Sopranos!). They also brought us out our own really totes adorbs mini pitchers of water in case the Bada bing spice made us thirsty:

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It was quite warm, even on the water, so I drank that entire pitcher—my bladder thanked me later, I assure you. I, of course, also had a Ropewalk mule (or two) and it was delightful. Hubs got a John Paul Jones (kind of like an Old Fashioned) and he even shared his cherry with me…what a gentleman.

Within minutes of downing the Bada bing shrimp, our meals came out. Hubs got day boat scallops over Orzo (if it’s on the menu, you can bet one of us will get the day boat scallops):

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They looked great and apparently tasted great as well with fresh ingredients. That was a concern when we came off season…how fresh are the ingredients? Ropewalk certainly did not disappoint. I got a pulled pork tacos. Yeah, I know, I eat too much pulled pork. But they were so good, who can blame me?

 

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We had no room for dessert (just room for another drink to relax in the sunshine). Beautiful view + Delicious food= One Happy Bad Mommy.

Food: 8 out of 10 forks

Atmosphere: 9 out of 10 forks

View: 9 out 10 forks

Value: 7 out of 10 forks (it was a little on the expensive side)

*Side note: There was no kid’s menu that I could see. I was also too busy drinking up the view to ask. Sorry 🙁  They DO have a playground outside though, so I’m assuming there’s something for the kids.

Oh and here’s a great view of the sun set over the bay:

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Can you see now why I love it so much?

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Rare & Rye

We passed by this place a few times on our summer long quest of finding our beach condo. It’s in an unremarkable building in the parking lot of a hotel. We probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all except for the “Coming soon” and “Now Open” signs that graced the sides of the building. The name alone suggested that it was a place to try without the kids and so on our “closing” vacation without kids, we did just that.

We chose a Saturday at lunch time to visit. That meant the place was almost completely empty except for some bar patrons, so we had our choice of where to sit. We chose the upstairs area which, despite facing the ocean front, had no view because the windows were too high. That was a bummer and disappointment, but the decor and atmosphere more than made up for the lack of view (who wants to see the water everywhere they go anyway?). The decorating was very tasteful and not “beachy” at all. After going to one beach/bay themed restaurant after another, it’s nice to have a change of pace. img_5043The server was of course, super attentive (since we were the only people in the place), and we felt bad making him run up and down the staircase to take our order and bring our drinks. But once he brought our drinks, we didn’t feel bad anymore. Hubby had a Manhattan and I had a Moscow mule. I’m sort of in love with Moscow mules at the moment. They’re so light and refreshing. Look at this, isn’t it gorgeous????

img_5050FYI, I’d like a set of the copper glasses for Christmas so I can make my own Moscow Mules at home (Santa???).

Anyhoo, back to the food. The menu actually says “Rare & Rye: Unique Eats & Libations”. This is not, I repeat, NOT a place to bring your picky eater. This is a restaurant for people with a more adventurous palate. There is a kid’s menu if your picky eater happens to be under the age of 10, but if he/she is an adult, you may want to try a restaurant that doesn’t have lamb lollipops or duck on its menu. It’s too expensive to push your food around on your plate because it wasn’t what you thought it was.

I had the crabby mac since I wasn’t very hungry, and I didn’t regret my decision. OC crab with aged white cheddar cream sauce over orecchiette with crumbled rye on top. Doesn’t that look amazing?

img_5045 It was soooo good. Better than any lobster mac & cheese I’ve ever had…and I love lobster mac & cheese. I may have to make crab mac & cheese instead now.

Hubby had this:

img_5046I forgot what it was called and I think it was the daily special because it’s not on the menu online. He really enjoyed it whatever it was. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and we would definitely go back to try their lite fare or wine and cheese menus.

Food: 9 forks out of 10. Drinks were 10 out of 10…on point 🙂

Value: 7 forks out of 10. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the food was well worth it.

Atmosphere: 9 forks out of 10. We really loved the decor. The bathroom was cool, too. (Okay, so I check out the bathrooms in every restaurant I go to…don’t judge me.)

View: Unfortunately 5 forks out of 10. But honestly, you can’t always get an ocean view.

Check out Rare & Rye for a sophisticated meal while you’re in OC…make sure you don’t miss it!

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Tequila Mockingbird

After we closed on the condo in OC, we discovered that although it came furnished, there was no food in the place (WHAT?!?!?). We considered ourselves “on vacation”, so we certainly weren’t going to the local supermarket for food to cook. We decided to celebrate at the closest Mexican restaurant.

Tequila Mockingbird had been voted as the best something or other in Ocean City (I think it was restaurant #66 out of #440 on Trip Advisor), so of course, we needed to try it. And also, the name…so cool…my favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird”, so I loved the play on words. My favorite restaurant in New Jersey is Jose Tejas. Anyone who lives in Central NJ knows this restaurant—it’s famous for it’s delicious food, excellent margaritas, and incredible ambiance statewide. It’s also famous for its interminable wait times. I have come to assume that such wait just natural came with great Mexican restaurants. Imagine my surprise when we arrived at Tequila Mockingbird and were ushered right in to the busy restaurant. Yah! No wait!

The restaurant was crowded so the hostess sat us on the bar side of the restaurant. The first thing I noticed was that the decor was not what I was expecting from a Mexican restaurant—it had a “pub” flavor to it—big Steelers and Raven fans (they may lose points for this alone).  Well, Heather, what did you expect at a bar? I don’t know…something more Mexican, I guess…a sombrero or maracas or something.

A basket of chips and homemade salsa were quickly brought to the table. Mexican restaurants must buy their chips in bulk from the same distributor because these chips tasted exactly the same as my beloved Jose’s. The salsa at Jose’s is NOT homemade as this salsa was—I actually prefer the jarred salsa, so I didn’t really care for their homemade salsa. Yeah, yeah, I know…preservatives and all that.

I had a pomegranate margarita—it was a little too sweet for my taste and kind of expensive. I know I can’t compare the two, but I can’t help it—Jose’s margaritas are around $7. This one was over $10 (I can’t remember the exact price…maybe it was more potent than I thought). Okay, I swear, I’ll stop comparing. Repeat after me, Heather: Tequila Mockingbird is not Jose Tejas.

Our meal came quickly (I DO like speedy service).  Mike got shrimp tacos, his personal favorite and I got chicken quesadilla. I always get that at…the place not to be named. 

The food was hot, and the ingredients fresh, but both Mike and I agreed it lacked the flavor of…the place we usually like. I think if you’ve never been to Jose Tejas the great Mexican restaurant, you would find this place great (mostly because you wouldn’t know what you were missing). Honestly, it was fine, but not what I was expecting for “The Best Mexican Food in OC”, so that also colored my judgment as well. Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for a fast, clean place for tacos and other Mexican cuisine in OC.

Food: 6 🍴 out of 10 (drinks were also a 6)

Value: 7 🍴 out of 10

Atmosphere: 6 🍴 out of 10

View: 5 🍴 out of 10 (it looked out to a parking lot…they can’t all be gems)

*They have a kid’s menu, named “The Kiddie Rides”…cute.

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—The Lobster Shanty

Our first restaurant, The Lobster Shanty is not actually IN Ocean City. But Heather! You promised us OC Eats! Calm down, put the pitchforks away! It’s on Fenwick Island, only a few miles into Delaware—which is great, no sales tax! When we came down to OC in June, looking for a place to buy, we stopped here before meeting our fabulous realtors Rhonda and Bethany Frick. It was early June—the shoulder season—so there were a lot of specials to be had, resulting in a very tasty, yet cheap meal. If there’s anything the hubs likes more than good food, it’s CHEAP, good food. So we thought it would be appropriate to return to the same spot for lunch on the day of our closing. Once again, October is also the shoulder season (but a lot of restaurants are still open down in OC), so we were expecting another pretty reasonably priced meal. When you enter The Lobster Shanty, you immediately notice it’s definitely got a nautical theme going on (as many OC places do). It was also decorated for Halloween, which was nice, and it wasn’t deserted at all as we expected. There were quite a few patrons that day. It was a very unseasonably warm weekend in late October, so that may have had something to do with it.

We were shown to our seats which was ironically, the same table we sat at when we started off on this whole scary buying a beach house condo in a beach community journey. I can’t tell you that we were any less nerve wracked this time, if anything, more so. As hubby fumbled with the lid on his blood pressure pills, we ordered a pitcher of sangria and admired the relaxing view that spread before us. Now before we decided to look for a beach condo (there you go…we both win), I wanted beach, beach, beach. To me, that meant ocean, ocean, ocean. Well, what we discovered in our search is that Ocean City is so much more than just the ocean front. The bay can be breathtakingly beautiful (especially at sunset) and very relaxing. This was our view at lunch:

Let me tell you, both the view and the pitcher of sangria do A LOT to calm nerves. The sangria was REALLY delicious and flavorful and I am a sangria SNOB. I make pretty kick ass sangria myself so I am really picky about sangria when I go out. I find that it is mostly watered down way more than I would like. Not The Lobster Shanty’s sangria however. Not only was it very flavorful, the waitress told us there were “4 or 5 glasses” in a pitcher. There were easily TEN. I started to worry as we drank if we would be allowed to sign the documents to buy the condo if we were drunk. Like what would happen if we stumbled in there mumbling about signing papers? Would they shove cups of bad office coffee at us and make us come back later to dry out? It ended up being an unfounded worry—we couldn’t even finish the whole pitcher between us.

Moving on to the food—not everyone is a lush who loves their sangria after all. Hubby got the special, surf and turf for $24, which is pretty reasonable. It was $10 cheaper than normal. He liked it, especially the garlic mashed potatoes and the garlic lemon butter—he’s a sucker for all things garlic (definitely not a vampire) but didn’t say it was AMAZING or anything. He was probably too stressed to actually taste the food, though, because it’s a pretty nice presentation: img_5051

I got the crab and lobster thermidor. I’ve never had a “thermidor” before, so I wasn’t sure what it was. The waitress explained it was lump crab meat and lobster in a sherry sauce with dijon, cream, parmesean, mushrooms and shallots. It has a breading topping and is baked. She also said it was really big and I might not be able to finish it—she doesn’t know me well, obviously:

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There must have been a special on asparagus or something. Don’t get me wrong, I love asparagus—but once you eat it and have to use a public bathroom, EVERYONE knows you love asparagus. My crab and lobster thermidor was very tasty—a little heavy, but easy to finish. My garlic mashed potatoes had no flavor, however (hubby tasted them and agreed they were not the same as his at all), but since they weren’t the star of the dish, it didn’t really matter. All that mattered is we left The Lobster Shanty much more relaxed and fattened up. Below is my rating, based on the top things I’m looking for in an OC restaurant:

Food: 8 out of 10 forks (the drinks were 10 out of 10)

Value: 7 out of 10

Atmosphere: 8 out of 10

View: 8 out 10 forks

*Side note: There IS a kid’s menu and the atmosphere is kid friendly as well.

So don’t hesitate to travel into Fenwick Island, Delaware if you’re looking for some fresh and tasty seafood options. The Lobster Shanty will not disappoint!

The Bad Mommy Eats OC

Hey guys! Great News! Hubby and I just fulfilled one of our life-long dreams…no, we didn’t quit our jobs and move to a Caribbean island to spend the days with our toes in the sand. (I wish!) But it’s a close second—we brought a beach house in Ocean City! Ocean City, Maryland…not New Jersey. Ocean City, New Jersey is a DRY town…shudder. Erm, excuse me, hubby is here to remind me it is NOT a beach house—it is a CONDO in a beach community (It’s block from the beach, which is a heck of a lot closer to the beach than the house we actually live in—I’ll call it a beach house if I want.) Buying this “condo” means that we will be eating rice and beans till the end of time and our kids will have to wear clothes from Goodwill, but damn it, we will have a place to relax at the beach. A getaway not so far from home.

So anyway, we bought this beach house  condo in a beach community not only for us to enjoy, but to rent out as well (my hubby is secretly hoping to become a property tycoon). We went down this weekend to make sure the place is set up to rent and figured, we might as well enjoy our condo while we were there. Translation: we were there to eat, and eat we did. As we were eating one of many fabulous meals in Ocean City (oh, the rice and beans will only be at home), we got to thinking about how overwhelming it would be for someone to come down to this great beach community and see all the incredible places that there are to dine at I mean, driving down the strip is CRAZY! There are all you can eat seafood places, crack your own crab joints, BBQ restaurants, fining dining, casual dining, ice cream parlors, pizza parlors…you name it, Ocean City has it. If you’re new to OC (and even if you’re a seasoned visitor), you may want to know, where’s the good eats?

Never fear, the Bad Mommy is here to save you. If there is anything hubby and I love to share (other than our condo that you can rent…I REALLY don’t want to eat rice and beans), it’s our love of good food. We would be appalled if you came down to our beloved beach COMMUNITY and ate bad pizza and didn’t check out some of the best that OC has to offer. Therefore, as a service to you, the novice OC eater, we offer you, The Bad Mommy Eats OC—an offshoot of my blog where we will post pictures and reviews of the places we’ve eaten so far. We will rate them based on three categories. The first is FOOD. This category will encompass the obvious—the food. Was it delicious, was it delivered to the table at the appropriate temperature, how was the menu, a lot of choices, or very limited? How were the cocktails? The second category we will rate on is ATMOSPHERE. This will include the décor, the view, the seating arrangements. A lot of these things add to the dining experience, especially when there are so many great eateries to chose from. The last category is VALUE. Sure the steak may be $49, but it may be the best steak I’ve ever tasted. Or conversely, the meal might have been cheap, but did it taste like dog food? A lot of factors go into value. I will also be including whether or not they have a kids’ menu. It’s not an issue for us any longer, but it wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t go anywhere that didn’t serve chicken fingers. (Did you ever THINK chicken fingers, by the way? Like, who thought to name them that? Have you ever actually seen chicken claws? They’re so gross.) Also, although it is very important to me, I’m not including wait time or staff attitudes in the ratings. A lot of these reviews will be done in the off season, so judging those categories would be difficult. Hopefully, the blog will serve to both inform and entertain you. So enjoy and bon appetit!